College Basketball State of the Atlantic 10 Betting Report: How St. Bonaventure’s Layoff Impacts League Title

College Basketball State of the Atlantic 10 Betting Report: How St. Bonaventure’s Layoff Impacts League Title article feature image

Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images. Pictured: Quadry Adams (St. Bonaventure)

Since my first State of the Atlantic 10 report, the conference has been dealing the effects of COVID-19 — like many leagues across the country.

Several games have been postponed, while George Washington and Rhode Island played their first conference games on Saturday. George Mason and conference-title betting favorite St. Bonaventure (+140) have yet to play a league game yet.

Here are the other recent storylines around the Atlantic 10 over the last few weeks.

St. Bonaventure's Long Layoff

The Bonnies have been off since December 18th, as their games against Dayton, Fordham and Saint Louis were postponed. A non-conference game against Northeastern was also canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Huskies' program.

Now, with COVID-19 issues of its own, it is unclear when St. Bonaventure will be able to return to the court. However as of writing, the Bonnies are scheduled to play at La Salle on Tuesday night.

The Bonnies are surely aching to get back on the court to snap their two-game losing streak, and to knock the taste out of their mouth following poor performances against UConn and Virginia Tech.

How will the layoff affect St. Bonaventure's pursuit of a regular-season title?

While St. Bonaventure will need to shake off rust when it returns to the court, we have seen teams use long COVID pauses to their advantage (between the extra scouting time and letting players heal up).

Last year, Florida State returned from a COVID pause to blast NC State, 105-73. The Seminoles went on to win eight of their next 10 games. Provided St. Bonaventure is at full strength, it will have a chance to rip off a similar run.

After meeting La Salle on Tuesday night, the Bonnies host VCU and are at Dayton, Duquesne and George Mason before returning home to face Saint Joseph's.

I like St. Bonaventure's chances to be 5-1 before it hosts Davidson.

Davidson Looks The Part of a Title Contender

Davidson is off to a 2-0 start in A-10 play, with wins against Saint Joseph's and Rhode Island.

The Wildcats shot a blistering 11-of-24 from beyond the arc in a 88-73 victory against Saint Joseph's. But against Rhode Island, Davidson proved it can get the job done when the 3s aren't falling. Davidson shot 6-of-24 from 3 against Rhode Island, but made up for it by converting 18-of-24 from 2-point range in a 72-68 win.

Overall, the Wildcats are converting 60% of their 2-point attempts in conference play. Davidson also ranks 12th in offensive rating and 20th in adjusted efficiency.

On Tuesday night, the Wildcats host Massachusetts — in what should be a high-scoring affair — before difficult road games at Richmond and VCU.

Davidson is down to +350 to win the regular-season title on FanDuel, but you can still take it at +450 on DraftKings.

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Richmond's Slow Start

Richmond kicked off conference play with an ugly 83-56 loss to Saint Joseph's and a tough 76-69 loss to Saint Louis. The Spiders were able to get in the win column with a 80-72 victory over Massachusetts, though.

Saturday's game at Fordham was postponed, along with Tuesday's game at George Mason.

The Spiders will lose a couple of opportunities to pick up some wins in games it would have been favored before welcoming Davidson Friday night.

In conference play, Richmond is only shooting 38.5% from the field and 26.7% from 3.

It also needs to show improvement on the defensive end to be a threat. The Spiders are 238th in points allowed and 277th in defensive rating.

Is VCU Emerging as a Threat?

Along with Davidson, the other 2-0 team in the A-10 is VCU. The Rams won a 53-52 slugfest vs. Dayton behind its elite defense.

However, the Rams broke through offensively in a 85-66 win at La Salle.

The Rams posted a 116.9 offensive rating in the win. La Salle does rank 273rd in defensive rating, but it was still an encouraging performance for VCU, which has an offensive rating of 90.2 for the season. It has moved up seven spots in offensive rating to 336th since my last report.

This week, VCU hosts George Washington on Tuesday and travels to St. Bonaventure on Friday night — if the Bonnies are even able to take the court.

If you were able to catch VCU to win the regular-season title at +1500 on DraftKings, consider it a bargain. The Rams are now +550 on DraftKings and are holding steady at +600 on FanDuel.

I don't love the price in that range, but if VCU can continue to improve offensively, it will have a shot.

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